Beginning of consultations on the Environmental Management Act

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The Chronicle

Angela Sibanda, columnist
The GOVERNMENT has started consultations to amend the Environmental Management Law to ensure comprehensive protection of the country’s environment that leads to sustainable development.

The Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality leads the process.

Officially launching the consultation program in Bulawayo, Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality, Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndlovu, said the main reason for the amendment was to align the law with the constitution. .

“The review of the Environmental Management Act has been necessitated by two key developments, namely the need to bring it into line with the Constitution of Zimbabwe, and secondly to update it in line with modern trends in management environment, bearing in mind that the EMA law was passed nearly two decades ago,” he said.

In October last year, the Cabinet considered and approved the Principles of Amendment of the Environmental Management Act.

The amendment also seeks to bring the law into line with the Public Entities and Corporate Governance Act as well as regional and international treaties and conventions to which Zimbabwe is a party.

Minister Ndlovu said the amendment also seeks to address environmental impact assessment processes and financial implications involved in administering the Environmental Management Agency.

“It is equally important that we critically examine environmental impact assessment processes and assess whether they are still in line with best practice, including cost-effectiveness, all of this also in the broader context of ease of doing business in Zimbabwe.

“Funding for regulatory processes and EMA as an institution is also linked to the above, given current international trends and the international community’s focus on sustainable environmental management. Given the critical importance of careful environmental management, the need for an adequately resourced regulatory body becomes paramount,” said Minister Ndlovu.

He said there is a need to put in place a legal framework to address the issue of poor waste management across the country.

“Waste mismanagement had become so serious that the government launched the national clean-up campaign. It may be time to put in place a legal framework that ensures the sustainability of the program and, above all, to ensure effective enforcement and deterrent penalties,” said Minister Ndlovu.

The existing law on environmental management only gives the EMA authority over legal miners who are registered and Minister Ndlovu said the amended law should also focus on addressing the problem of illegal miners who took control of the eight rural provinces and became the main source of land degradation.

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